Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Novel Three: Day Six

Close Calls Twice…

(As a reminder, the overall monthly challenge is to write four novels and gain distance every week on my step count, starting the first week at an average of 11,000 steps per day.)

Only made 6,000 steps. Just no time again today. Seems like I am maintaining the exercise on some days, at least over 10,000 steps. Only had a few days under ten thousand all month, but not getting the totals I wanted.

And the first close call was last night. As I was doing last night’s blog, my entire server crashed. Now I didn’t know that at the time, but when my site didn’t come back up after ten minutes, I called the fine folks.

They quickly determined that the entire server had gone down. I am the only one on it with this site and WMG and a few others that we do.

The fine folks spent almost thirty minutes getting it back up and working, after doing some pretty major work. That cost me about twenty minutes of typing I had to do over as well. Close call but I got the blog up by a little before 7 in the morning.

The Day Went Like This…

Slept in late because of the problems last night, so didn’t get to the WMG offices until after four in the afternoon after doing an hour of e-mail.

I then spent until seven p.m. working there on workshop stuff. Then to the grocery store and home to nap and cook dinner.

Got in here right around 10 p.m. for two more hours of e-mail and reading for the challenge. I am just puttering along on those. Reading every night.

Got to the writing by midnight, which made me very happy. I wrote 1,100 words by 12:45 and that was where I ground to a complete halt once again.

It took me almost an hour to figure out that I had answered the problem I had opened the novel with. Or at least most of it. I could have wrapped it up right there I suppose, but the book didn’t feel finished or like a Thunder Mountain novel at all.

So finally I just went back in and sat down around 2 a.m. and started typing.

And I used an old writer trick. When you don’t know where the story is going, have the characters talk about how they don’t know what to do next. That seemed to make my little creative voice happy.

The characters worked it out, I hope, and off I went. Another close call.

I did 1,400 words by 3 a.m.

A short break, another 1,100 words by 4 a.m.

Short break, 1,200 words by 4:45 a.m.

One last break and another 1,300 words by 5:30 a.m.

6,100 words in 5 sessions. 

(Now off to write a forward for a Fiction River…I’ll count those words for tomorrow.)


Novel #1…The Writing of TOMBSTONE CANYON: A Thunder Mountain Novel

 Challenge Day 1… Words written… 6,600.  Total so far… 6,600 words.
Challenge Day 2… Words written… 6,700.  Total so far… 13,300 words.
Challenge Day 3… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far… 19,400 words.
Challenge Day 4… Words written… 6,200.  Total so far… 25,600 words.
Challenge Day 5… Words written… 6,200.  Total so far…, 31,800 words.
Challenge Day 6… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far…, 37,900 words.
Challenge Day 7… Words written… 3,200.  Final Total…, 41,100 words. (Novel count is 38,000)


Challenge Novel #2


Novel #2…The Writing of DEATH TAKES A DIAMOND: A Mary Jo Assassin Novel

 Challenge Day 8… Words written… 6,400.  Total so far… 6,400 words.
 Challenge Day 9… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far… 12,500 words.
 Challenge Day 10… Words written… 3,200.  Total so far… 15,700 words.
 Challenge Day 11… Words written… 2,900.  Total written so far… 18,600 words.
 Challenge Day 12… Words written… 3,100.  Total written so far… 21,700 words.
 Challenge Day 13… Words written… 6,100.  Total written so far… 27,800 words.
 Challenge Day 14… Words written… 3,300.  Total written so far… 31,100 words.
 Challenge Day 15… Words written… 6,200.  Total written so far… 37,300 words.
 Challenge Day 16… Words written… 6,500.  Total written so far… 43,800 words. (Novel is no where near that long and might get shorter still after Kris reads it.)


Challenge Novel #3


Novel #3…The Writing of DRY CREEK CROSSING: A Thunder Mountain Novel

 Challenge Day 17… Words written… 3,100.  Total so far… 3,100 words.
 Challenge Day 18… Words written… 3,400.  Total so far… 6,500 words.
 Challenge Day 19… Words written… 2,900.  Total so far… 9,400 words.
 Challenge Day 20… Words written… 6,200.  Total so far… 15,600 words.
 Challenge Day 21… Words written… 6,300.  Total so far… 21,900 words.
 Challenge Day 22… Words written… 6,100.  Total so far… 28,000 words.


The Day Breakdown

5.5 hours writing… 6,100 words
1 hours exercise plus normal movement… 10,300 steps
5.5 hours of work for workshops and e-mails and meetings and such.

The rest is television and cooking and and so on. Plus 8 hours of sleep. Two 10 minute naps.


Days over 6,000 words… 14 of 22
Days over 11,000 steps… 11 of 22
Days over 12,000 steps… 3 of 15

5.5 hours of regular job work this week. Today is week day one.


Tracking Word Counts… July 22nd, 2017
Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,403

— Daily Fiction: 6,100 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 112,900 words  
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words
— Blog Posts: 400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 10,300 words
— E-mail: 26 e-mails.  Approx. 800 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 652 e-mails. Approx. 38,900 words



NOW OPEN. Very limited. Just two spots open.

Taught by Allyson Longueira. You get a template out of it as well as learning.

See the post below this one for details. First come, first in.



All have openings at the moment. Information at

Any questions at all, feel free to write me. And if you are confused as to which workshop to take first, we have a full curriculum posted on its own page.

Class #13… Aug 8th … Depth #3: Research
Class #14… Aug 8th … Endings
Class #15… Aug 8th … Point of View
Class #16… Aug 8th … Writing Mysteries
Class #17… Aug 8th … Speed
Class #18… Aug 8th … Teams in Fiction
Class #19… Aug 9th … Depth in Writing
Class #20… Aug 9th … How to Edit Your Own Work
Class #21… Aug 9th … Character Development
Class #22… Aug 9th … Writing Secondary Plot Lines
Class #23… Aug 9th … Advanced Depth
Class #24… Aug 9th … Writing Fantasy


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  • Lynn

    I have used that trick more times than is probably wise. 😀 I’m glad you got things moving again!

  • Peggy

    Hi, Dean.
    “When you don’t know where the story is going, have the characters talk about how they don’t know what to do next.” >> This conversation forms part of the novel?


    • dwsmith

      Sure does. Got to keep it interesting and fairly short, but pretty standard. Makes characters real and is a nifty writer trick to get unstuck.

  • Gnondpom

    It’s funny because I used that trick in the last short story I wrote, but I had no idea it was an old writer trick. I was just stuck and figured I might as well let the character talk about what they shall do next, and it worked.

    But I wouldn’t have thought about it anymore if you hadn’t mentioned it as a trick, so thanks for the awareness lesson.

    And while I’m here, I want to let you know that even if I’m usually only lurking, I’m reading every day and getting a lot out of your blog. So thank you once again for sharing, and good luck with your challenge, I hope you’ll succeed!